Jesse Kurtz manages the successful 12u Team Majestic, which is one our Bardo's in-house teams. We interviewed Jesse to find out what it's like to be a Bardo's in-house coach and the biggest differences he sees with his players since joining Bardo's.
Compared to other places you've coached, what are the biggest differences being a Bardo's in-house coach?
The camaraderie between all the coaches (staff & other in-house coaches) is tremendous. Everybody there has one goal; to see the kids succeed. All the coaches in the building help teach and encourage every player no matter what team affiliation. To have that many eyeballs on practices makes the time very efficient and effective.
What kind of progression have you seen with your players?
Our kids come to practice with the intent on working hard because anything less is unacceptable. That is constantly reinforced by the Bardo’s staff. With multiple teams in the building at once, our kids have improved how they compete which has consequently led to improvements in all areas of the game. They have also learned to not be so serious. Baseball is a game, it does not define who you are as a person. They’re starting to realize that with the teaching and reinforcement from the respected staff at Bardo’s. Our kids have a “swagger” about them because they are “Bardo’s Players”, which is awesome to see since they were shy for so long. They know they’re learning the game from the best and they enjoy competing with that in mind.
What do you enjoy most about being a Bardo's in-house coach?
The learning process. Having played baseball into college and coached youth up to high school, I felt like I had a fairly strong understanding of the game. But like life, things evolve and that includes how we teach the game of baseball and the safety (player’s arms, specifically) that goes along with that. Mike Bard and his staff are constantly “seeking truth” in the game and staying on top of the new approaches and best practices. They will admit, they “don’t know everything about the game even though they are the best in the business when it comes to knowledge, but they are seeking every day to learn more. That approach is very refreshing, comforting, and admirable. Even though they have professional players and coaches on staff… to not take the “we know all” approach leads to great respect among other coaches. It is a team effort within those walls. This specifically has played a big role in the new approach to throwing in a safe & effective manner. I have appreciated their willingness to let old habits take a back seat while the staff and teams learn the safer way to throw.
Any pleasant surprises from being a Bardo's coach that you weren’t expecting?
Mike Bard and his staff go out of their way to encourage the kids and talk to them about life. Even though baseball is their job & passion, they are very good about putting things into perspective. Making sure the kids know that baseball is something they do, it doesn’t define them. They talk about things like, “nobody will remember your batting average, but they will remember if they were a good teammate and how they acted.” The staff at Bardo’s really puts a lot of thought and care into how they handle the mental side of youth baseball.
Have you changed any of your managing habits after being a Bardo’s coach?
The biggest change I have made is how I communicate with the players. The staff has effectively explained the importance of commanding respect while not being a dictator on the field. Too often I found myself yelling rather than explaining when things weren’t right. The Bardo’s staff has helped me and my coaching staff get the most out of the players in how we handle the kids (especially in times of failure). I do way less yelling and more coaching, thanks to the Bardo’s staff.